Is there anyone dealing with a parent who will not let you into her home because she believes you are stealing from her?

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My mother (90) now refuses to let me into her home saying that I will steal from her. Most recently, she accused me of stealing the paperwork to her water heater and her cell phone charger along with a letter from her bank, a photo and an empty white box. Of course we showed her that everything that was "stolen" has been found in various places in her house. She thinks that my fiancee is brainwashing me through the ear piece that I wear for my cell phone, which I will no longer wear around her and that I give him her key so that he can go there and steal when I take her out. She also thinks that my daughter is in on the "stealing". She called the police and a woman in her building called my mother's lawyer for her. The people in her building seem to believe her even though they know that I am her only child and have taken care of both my mother and father for the past eight years after moving to Florida to be near them. Her lawyer advised her to have the locks changed, take my name off of all her papers and have the court appoint a guardian. My son was able to get my mother to drop any actions with the lawyer and explained to her that he would change her locks if that made her feel better. He changed them and she has no idea that of course I have the new keys but she refuses to let me in. She tells me she loves me but I can only talk to her on the phone. I am worried sick wondering if she is eating, taking her meds, if she has enough groceries, etc. Do I go there and let myself in (and risk agitating her further and making her more paranoid) or do I stay away? She thinks her neighbors will take care of her but I am her only family who can help her. My son has told me that he can't deal with this every day as he, too, works full time at a stressful job and lives an hour away. I can't and won't count on the neighbors. Please, I really need some suggestions as this is all brand new to me and don't know how to help her if she won't let me.

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Well, I've received the results of the brain MRI and everything checks out fine. Then, after much convincing, I got my mother to go back to the dr. for a urine test to see if it is a UTI that is causing her symptoms. That, too, was negative. If dementia is not necessarily detected on a brain scan, is there any other diagnostic test or just a psych evaluation (which I don't know how I'm going to get her to)? I had one good day with her in three weeks and now again, the accusations are flying. Since the doctor spoke to me when we were there, she now thinks that I took her doctor away from her and told him that I got to him, too. Today she told me that again, that she never wants to see me, her daughter is dead and goodbye forever. My head knows that this isn't really my "normal" mother speaking, but does the pain of these words ever diminish or go away? This is so horrible.
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I find this one of the most frustrating things about dementia. It's surprising how well people with dementia can 'perform' in different situations. You are seeing the whole picture, but I'm sure no one else is.
I've become pretty well versed at seeing some of the little signs that break through the mask. It shocks me that doctors are often oblivious to them. Although, doctors spend a little time with LOTS of seniors, they don't spend a lot of time with any of them. You really have to have a long conversation on many topics to pick up on the signs. I've even seen situations where the adult child of someone with pretty serious dementia is largely unaware of it. Probably because most of their interactions are about mom's 'maintenance'; errands to run for her, medications to pick up, help with housework, etc. And, mom is putting on a stellar performance for her daughter to mask the symptoms. It's something we all do for our children - act less sick than we feel so they don't worry, etc. It's no different when we're old.
I feel for you. It's incredibly painful to be distrusted by the person who should trust you the most.
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If you are finding a new doctor for your mom, look for a geriatrician.

Brain scans are a good and necessary first step on the diagnostic path. Be aware that dementia may not be detected by a scan.

Good luck!
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Could she have a UTI? And yes, that doctor was so unprofessional. Get her a new one. Hugs
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Hi Sunflo2, thank you again, you have been very helpful and inspiring. I have taken your advice and spent the last two evenings working on a journal to document all that has happened. It's a little tough though, as I am working backwards through a timeline. Anyway, the doctor's visit really did not go as I expected. He seemed to be annoyed by my mother's demeanor (he would tell her that she needs to see a psychiatrist and she would tell him that he needs one). She was nasty, but she is SICK, he isn't. Instead of what I expected to hear, that she may have dementia or alz, his very cold comments were, "She is totally off the wall bonkers and is living in her own world". Perhaps, "she is having a cognitive breakdown" might have sounded more professional. Anyway, he gave us a script for a brain scan. My mom was so agitated after the doctor's visit. She was so nasty and accusatory. She would not answer the phone at night. My daughter in law finally convinced her to go for the scan which was yesterday. Mom yelled that she didn't want me to go because i would talk to the doctor about her and try to put her away. Well, yesterday was unbelievable. My daughter in law and daughter picked her up for the MRI and she was my real mom again. I met them there and she was perfectly normal. She let me help her and stay with her until she went into the machine. The kids left and I took her to lunch. She was talkative, sweet and cognitive. If anyone who I have told the story of the last three weeks to saw her yesterday, they'd have thought I was crazy. I went back to her house last night and had dinner with her and called her again before I went to bed. She answered and sounded good. I am so thankful for the day I had yesterday. I wish it would just stay that way but I am so scared that odds are it won't. Now I am waiting for the report and very possibly searching for a different doctor who would be more understanding and willing to help. We'll see what today brings. Anyway, thank you again. I wish you weren't going through this, too, and I hope that you have many, many days like I did yesterday. All the best to you.
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Hope the Dr visit went well. Delusions; paranoia, hallucinations are all part of dementia and possibly Alzhiemers (early to mid stage). I went/am going thru much of what you speak here. My mother has a severe distrust issues. I know its the disease.
Here is what I did: I began logging dates, incidences/observations of everything going back to when it got bad (in great detail; hallucinations, delusions, accusations); then I made appt with the Dr since she would never follow thru and do so -- I made arrangements to take her. I sent letter in advance for his reference and asked him to keep confidential. I didn't expect her to invite me to exam; but she allowed me to accompany her. Dr (whom she trusts and has known many years) performed their normal assessment test (dementia/Alz); he additionally asked her many questions related to the letter and she answered truthfully (he questioned her about her reality -- but she insisted to him much was real). He and his office social worker met us and they know we care about her health and well being. Although he can't share anything with me anylonger (she removed consent); they at least have record of her behavior over the last year plus their own assessment. I have provided some updates on my observations and sent for his records should anything ever happen or have to go to court. He continues to monitor and since he hasn't called me to discuss or encouraged her to discuss alternative care/assistance -- I choose not to intervene at this time. You must be very careful. I never go in the house unless she accompanies me -- and when we do visit; she watches us like a hawk. The paranoia is just a reality for her and sad that she can't trust me and my family since we've never given her a reason to think otherwise. Do what you can, when in doubt call in senior services or the police to check on her. I've called the police to check on my mother when she wouldn't answer the phone or the door to a neighbor. They found her "fine" and left her be. I wouldn't burden my son with the stress of checking on her unless he really wants to. I think you should just call and if things don't sound right, call again the next day -- if no improvement and you think she is unsafe or unhealthy, call the police or senior services to have someone check on her if you need that peace of mind. Best scenario; work with her doctor; don't push to go into the house if she doesn't want you to. Visit outside the house if you feel you must or go to a public place. IF she isn't incompetent (and posing a danger to herself (unhealthy living conditions, losing weight, bruised, etc.) you can't do anything legally - thats what I've been told.
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It sounds like you have a very sensible plan. I hope the doctor visit goes well. A police "well check" is a very good idea ... and I hope you won't need to use it!
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Thank you for your answers. Just to touch on some of the good questions that you posed, my mother's lawyer actually called me and told me that "this is what your mother is going to do (change the locks, etc.), and, she added that she "knows the three county judges PERSONALLY". My mom never signed a representation agreement with her, but I know for a fact that she was not humoring her and she obviously missed the signs of dementia in my mom. She told me there was nothing wrong with my mother (I guess she's a lawyer AND a DOCTOR) but at the same time she said they would appoint a guardian. The attorney that I consulted with following this, explained that she is contradicting herself since if there were nothing up with my mother, why would she even need a guardian?

My mom also threw out one of her medications and called her doctor to tell him what is going on with the "stealing". His response (according to my mom), was that he can't help her because that is between her and her family. I went to see him after this first episode and he told me that the stealing accusations were the first sign of dementia and that the window to begin treatment was short. He told me that she would probably "barricade" herself in the house and wouldn't let me in, and that has come to pass.

As for the key, I was advised only to go to her house to check on her with a policeman. I went to her local public safety building yesterday and they do provide well checks, so that's what I will do in the event that my son cannot come by.

I think that my mom is in the early stages of dementia (I have finally gotten her to agree to see the dr with me tomorrow) as she seems ok with most everything like cleanliness, understanding most things, but several times a day (2 or 3) the "stealing" accusations come into play. I am hoping that she brings that up tomorrow at the dr., because if it doesn't he might not see it for himself.
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Jeanne has made some good points and very good questions. When I read your comments, these thoughts popped in my head. Do not sneak into her apartment. That is HER residence. If she catches you, she can call the police and accuse you of trespassing and stealing. How can you prove that you weren't stealing? It's her words against yours. And you WERE in her apartment without her permission. She has even STATED to you that you are no longer welcomed and you will only communicate by phone. In the eyes of the Law, you are a trespasser no matter what reasons you give. Fear for your mother, then why come when she's not in? Your actions will look criminal.

Second - if you get caught, your mom will know that your son gave you a key. She will no longer trust your son. Now you will have NO ONE to check on your mother. Is this worth it? Anyway, I still think you are wrong to visit her place with her express words that you are Not Welcome.

Therefore, for now, you may need to ask your son to do a Weekly visit to check up on mom. Have him bring some grocery (if she will allow it) when he does. At that time, he can check out the place and mom without being so obvious.

As for taking her meds, no one can force her to take it. My dad was in the hospital for a stroke. He refused to take the meds. The doctor finally told him that if he wanted to leave the hospital, he has to take the medication. He did. But once he got released, he quit.

Back to Jeanne's questions, you need to figure out how far into the dementia your mom is. Most likely, it will have to be based on your son's observation. I think a weekly visit is more acceptable for someone who lives an hour away. He will just need to keep notes every time he visits.
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Since you are new to this, perhaps you aren't aware that these behaviors are extremely common among people with dementia. They misplace things. They worry about their possessions and hide them to keep them safe, and then totally forget that they hid them, let alone where. And how to make sense of all these disappearing items? Well, obviously someone must be stealing them. And the "someone" who gets accused is likely to be someone they see often, namely the very person who is working so hard to keep them safe.

I don't know if you can take much comfort in knowing you are not alone.

She called the police. (Can't you just hear that conversation? "Officer, I want to report that my daughter stole an empty white cardboard box." ) What was the outcome of that? (My husband repeatedly tried to call the sherrif to report things I'd stolen or that he was being held captive against his will. Fortunately he mostly got wrong numbers.)

Do you have only her word for it regarding what the lawyer said? It could be he was just humoring her, playing along with her. He may have asked, "Do you want the courts to appoint a stranger to be your guardian?" in hopes of helping her see reason. Or maybe he believed her (although that seems unlikely.)

I would let the doctor who is treating Mother's dementia know about this new behavior.

Her world has suddenly become a scary and dangerous place to her. Speak to her reassuringly and soothingly with patience. Try to avoid being defensive or argumentative. "Your cell phone charger is missing? Oh, that must be very aggravating! I would hate it if mine were missing. I would never take yours, because I love you very much and would never want to see you unhappy. Should I come over and try to help you find it? If it doesn't show up, should I take you to buy a new one?"

How impaired is your mother? If you missed a few days visiting might that have serious consequences? Can you tell how things are going with a few phone calls a day? Not forever ... but I'm wondering if this might pass and she'll forget all about her ban in a few days. (No guarantee, though.)

Is your mother still safe to be living by herself?
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